Dark Horse Comics delivers more Buffy the Vampire Slayer goodness with a new five-part mini-series starring Spike. Who better to write it than Spike fanboy himself, Victor Gischler? Taking a fan favourite like Spike and giving him his own adventure away from the BuffyVerse is very risqué, but it proves to be a great choice for the brooding vamp.
The once terrifying vampire villain, “William the Bloody”, who relished in the murders of two slayers, falls in love with Buffy Summers; which, ultimately, leads him to fight to regain his soul… Intense stuff. The last time Buffy and Spike were together, he told her: “I don’t want to be the dark place you run to when things aren’t working.” Gischler, along with artist Paul Lee, work that concept cleverly into the miniseries. As the title, “A Dark Place”, suggests, Spike embarks on a journey to the dark side of the moon… Literally.
WRITTEN BY: Victor Gischler
ART BY: Paul Lee
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
The series opens with Spike as master of a steampunk ship filled with loyal, oversized alien cockroach minions that have been following him around since Season Eight. Refusing to sit around and wait for Buffy to get in touch with him, he orders his minions to take off and land his blimp on “the dark side of the moon”, in an attempt to gather his wits and clear his mind. Arriving on the moon though, loyal roaches Sebastian, Elizabeth, and the rest of his bug crew deliberate over what they have really accomplished by blindly following Spike’s orders. They observe their master excessive drinking, cruel insults, and his obsessive brooding over Buffy on a level only Angel could top. Gischler, who provides great characterization, and entertaining dialogue, is quick to call Spike out on his whining in the first few pages.
Spike, try as he might, can’t stop thinking about Buffy, and the memories are driving him insane. His minion friends refuse to sit back and watch their leader suffer in his misery, and they’ve had enough of his alcohol ridden diatribes. Fans, however, will not tire of reading Spike’s self-analyzing monologues, as Gischler captures the nuances of Spike exceptionally well. The bug crew devise a plan to help him out of his heartbreak funk, which appears to work… for a little while at least.
The moon turns out to be inhabited by its own group of evil baddies. All hell breaks loose after Spike and the crew learn what of their evil intensions are. Spike and his loyal roach minions have some serious ass kicking to do in space, lest they be trapped up there forever.
The issue is a pleasure to read for Spike fans. From Jenny Frison’s spectacular cover art that really sells itself with exceptional work on Spike’s beautiful blue eyes; to Paul Lee and Andy Owens’ bold and fluid efforts on pencils and inks. Lee’s draws Spike so well that he looks identical to James Marsters (a feat many Buffyverse artists have trouble achieving). Cris Peters’ colouring scheme is very inviting with its alluring greens and purples. All three artists move the narrative along smoothly with their combined efforts.
Victor Gischler writes a pretty depressing issue, but it’s also filled with comic relief. Surprisingly there is a lot of laugh-out-loud natural humor in this issue. Especially with Lee on board to draw Spike’s specific facial expressions to match his internal monologues perfectly. It all comes together quite well for a great first issue.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd